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October 02, 2011

A continuation of the blog fiction series (text) featuring the poetry of Ivan O'Uris and the stories behind his work. Some have called it Dada-esque. Sounds about right.

Lost (now found) poetic exercise

From the Ivan O’Uris educational papers collection


Introduction: Ivan O’Uris is best known as a journalist and poet and as a teacher of karate to wild chimpanzees. However, since coming to the United States from his native island of Luscia, he also has worked in higher education as an adjunct professor at small Midwestern colleges, teaching poetry writing, with a specialty in tawdry anti-limericks. Recently, Ivan O’Uris scholars E.E. Pointer and Shawn Roney began finding Ivan’s education-related papers in his cluttered apartment, including some test writing exercises, which Mutt Media LLC is publishing.

During the fall semester of 1999, Ivan taught anti-limerick writing at Roberto C. Senoj University. One of his objectives was to teach students the anti-limerick rhyme structure of a-a-b-b-WTF. Under this structure, the first two lines rhyme. In keeping with anti-limerick tradition, they might logically link or be unrelated. This principle also applies to lines three and four, which rhyme with each other.

The last line does not rhyme with any of the previous one and is often a non sequitur intended to make the reader say, “What the f--k?”

Because many of Ivan’s students had never written anti-limericks, he created multiple choice/fill-in-the-blank testing exercises for them. Technically, there were supposed to be no “correct” answers, but Ivan created answer keys anyway.

The following is the first “poetic exercise” Ivan administered that semester. Take the test and see if your answers match Ivan’s.











Complete each line of the following anti-limerick by filling in each blank based on the choices for the corresponding number.


  1. A volatile veal Velcro ___________________________________________.
  1. test
  2. vest
  3. jest
  4. hest
  5. bequest
  6. pest
  7. guest
  8. rest
  9. fest
  10. blessed
  11. quest
  12. behest
  13. be-pest
  14. fart
  15. all of the above
  16. some of the above
  17. kind of slightly most of none of some of the above
  18. nearly all of none of some of most of part of a third of half of all of the above
  19. possibly any of none of all of some of most of a half of a fraction of a smidgen of the above
  20. huh?
  21. duh!
  22. what was the question again?
  23. cool!
  24. I am the man (or woman)
  25. damn, I’m tired after reading so many choices
  26. I like cake

 2. Ate Braunschweiger while taking a _______________________________.

  1. test
  2. chest
  3. pest
  4. quest
  5. rest
  6. behest
  7. bequest
  8. be quiet, you talk too freakin’ much!
  9. be gone!
  10. what the hell is Braunschweiger anyhow?
  11. I’m getting delusions of grandeur
  12. true
  13. false
  14. neither true nor false
  15. neither false nor true
  16. neither false nor true nor none of some of most of the above
  17. neither false nor true nor none of most of some of none of nearly a pinch of all of the above
  18. oh, brother!
  19. excuse me, I need a breather before I finish reading the rest of the choices
  20. guest
  21. guess
  22. couldn’t we have made this a matching quiz?
  23. how many points is this quiz worth again?
  24. can I get extra credit so I can still make the honor roll?
  25. wow!
  26. I still like cake


  3. Though it knew facts by ______________.

  1. note
  2. scrote
  3. tote
  4. boat
  5. gloat
  6. goat
  7. moat
  8. bloat
  9. a bloated boat with a goat
  10. dote
  11. float
  12. rote
  13. oat
  14. wrote
  15. all of the above
  16. none of the above
  17. how many frickin’ words rhyme with “note” anyhow
  18. quote (there’s another one)
  19. quota
  20. iota
  21. I’m tired
  22. I’m still tired
  23. my eyelids are drooping
  24. I’m nodding off
  25. I’m nodding off and drooling on my test
  26. zzzzzzzzzzz


4. It cheated with _______.

a. boats

b. goats

c. quotes

d. moats

e. dotes

f. floats

g. bloats

h. gloats

i. cajones

l. notes

m. wait, what happened to choices j-k?

n. I don’t guess it matters what happened to j-k

o. sure it matters because they’re worthy letters, too, dammit!

p. all of the above

q. none of the above

r. it couldn’t cheat ’cause it was, like, an open-book test

s. it cheated, even though it was an open-book, test ’cause it, like, used the wrong book

t. (insert your own word or phrase)


5. And wondered, __________.

a. none of the above

b. all of the above

c. a and b

d. a only

e. b only

f. c, d and e only

g. tomato only

h. tomato with extra horseradish

i. g and h

j. I still like cake

k. actually, I don’t like cake so good

l. I still want to know what the hell Braunschweiger is

m. yippee, I’m a turnip!

n. a-g are correct

o. a-g are partly correct, but not as correct as h-n

p. h-n are the most correct and they frickin’ rule

r. ?!*#hs@

s. “why the f--k do my nuts feel like they’re on fire?”

t. t-z are correct

u. t-z are incorrect

v. t-z can’t be correct, numb nuts, because x-z don’t exist



1. b.

2. a.

3. l.

4. l.

5. s.


According to Ivan’s answer key, the anti-limerick should read …


A volatile veal Velcro vest

Ate Braunschweiger while taking a test.

Though it knew facts by rote,

It cheated with notes

And wondered, “Why the f--k do my nuts feel like they’re on fire?!”


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